Horse racing is all about stories. Winners, losers, and also-rans. Everyone remembers the days when a sweet success put a few quid in your pocket. But what about those days when it didn't quite go to plan. There are lots of reasons why a horse doesn't run its race. However, I very much doubt you will have heard of this strange happening.
Readers will know I enjoy going to Great Yarmouth to enjoy a day's racing.
It's a nice little course.
Like so many, it's unspectacular in ways but it holds a lot of memories for me, especially connected to my late father, Colin. Dad loved to go to the Eastern Festival which takes place every September. It's a three-day meeting the highlight being a Listed race. In recent years, since the straight mile has been revamped to iron out a few undulations and topped with new daisy-free turf, the size of fields and quality of horse has improved.
Being close to Newmarket, the course has seen many top-notch two-year-olds. No surprise considering it is frequented by the likes of John Gosden, Roger Varian, Sir Michael Stoute.
Fond memories of seeing Sir Henry Cecil at the course. My cousin, Danny, always telling of the day he spoke to the great trainer and how he took the time to detail his thoughts about a horse making its debut.
Being a popular seaside location on the Norfolk coast, Great Yarmouth has a hell of a lot of seagulls. The other week, I sat in the market square, eating sausage and chips, and I was surrounded by a host of herring gulls, pigeons, and sparrows. One particularly big bird seemed to consider I was part of his territory and chased off any other gulls who came close. This fella didn't bother with the chips but seemed to have his eye on the battered sausage. I don't think he'd caught a fish out of the sea in a long time. It was amusing to a point but the gull experience isn't quite as entertaining as the ghost train at Hunstanton.
Thinking about the seagull reminds me of a race comment I saw years ago about a horse race at Great Yarmouth. I can't remember which horse, who trained it or what year the incident happened. However, I do remember the race. The comment went something life this:
''Steady start, mid-division, traveled well, spooked at dead seagull at the furlong pole, ran on well.''
Who would believe that winning and losing a horse race would result in a conked-out seagull whose demise saw a good few quid go down the swanny?
The next time you go to the races make sure you check to see which ''obstacles'' may alter the history of racing.
Jason Coote is the founder of a number of horse racing websites and known Brtish gambler.